BCS Bowl Predictions 2012: Locks and Potential Upsets for Every Matchup
Every sport comes equipped with upsets and college football is no different, especially when it comes to BCS bowl games.
As the final BCS standings were announced on Sunday night, upsets were already brewing as oddsmakers scramble to define the lines for each game and prepare for the ensuing madness that is bowl week in college football.
On the other side of upsets are locks—teams we are so confident will win, we're willing to wager an insane amount of money or naming rights to our firstborn child.
While I wouldn't go as far as the latter, BCS bowls do some crazy things to football fans, so you might want to check this piece out before making your bets.
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford (11-2, 8-1) vs. Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4)
Lock: Stanford Cardinal
The Badgers deserve their bid in the Rose Bowl, but it's all about the Cardinal defense on Jan. 1.
Stanford sports the third-best rushing defense in the nation and will give Wisconsin's No. 12-ranked rushing offense fits all day, as Montee Ball tries to find some running room against the stingy Cardinal.
Wisconsin's defense should not be taken lightly either, but I like the odds of Stepfan Taylor carrying the offensive load for Stanford, leading to the Cardinal first BCS bowl win since 2010 under Jim Harbaugh.
Look for Josh Nunes to make enough plays under center to clinch this one for Stanford.
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida (11-1, 7-1) vs. No. 21 Louisville (10-2, 5-2)
As much as I'd like to tell you Louisville is going to leave the Superdome with a win in the Sugar Bowl, I just don't see it happening.
The Cardinals offense isn't deep enough to challenge a Gators defense that ranks third-best in the nation, allowing just under 13 PPG.
Teddy Bridgewater showed his toughness against Rutgers in the Big East Championship, but he'll need to be just as tough on Jan. 2 against a Florida defense that boasts 25 sacks and 19 interceptions.
Expect a heavy dose of Mike Gillislee and a Sugar Bowl victory for the Gators.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 Oregon (11-1, 8-1) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (11-1, 8-1)
Upset: Kansas State
Can't you see it? Collin Klein leading K-State to a Fiesta Bowl upset and winning the Heisman?
Yeah, me neither. At least the second part.
Johnny Football has the Heisman on lockdown, but I do like the idea of the Wildcats upending the Ducks on Jan. 3 in Arizona.
This could be the highest-scoring BCS bowl game of the season, as both teams come into this one ranking in the top 10 in points scored.
Oregon has the better defense, but it's really hard to go against what Klein and the Wildcats are doing offensively, as they just hung 42 on the Texas Longhorns. Kenjon Barner will impress, no doubt, but it's not enough.
Sorry, Ducks fans, but I like K-State.
Orange Bowl: No. 15 Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0) vs. No. 12 Florida State (11-2, 7-1)
Lock: Florida State
It'd be a great story to see MAC Champion Northern Illinois come into the Orange Bowl and knock off the hefty Seminoles, but it's not going to happen.
I'm among the many who believe the Huskies aren't battle-tested enough to deserve a bid to a BCS bowl, and they're surely not ready for what Florida State will bring to Sun Life Stadium on New Year's Day.
E.J. Manuel and his triple-headed rushing attack will unload its explosive offense and show Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois what it really means to be a BCS bowl champion.
FSU takes the Orange Bowl.
BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1, 7-1)
Upset: Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish aren't going to blow anyone away with their offense, but what they are going to do is play hard-nosed defense and make you earn every yard.
The same can be said for Alabama, as we prepare to see the No. 1 and No. 2 defenses—in terms of points allowed per game—go head-to-head with the BCS National Championship on the line.
A.J. McCarron and the Crimson Tide offense deserves all the credit they receive, but I'm a firm believer that good championships are built on defense, which is why I like Notre Dame in the championship game.
This matchup will be won in the trenches, but I like the odds of Everett Golson and Theo Riddick leading the Fighting Irish to their first BCS National Championship win.
Note: All times are ET and p.m. unless noted otherwise. All games (except for the Sun Bowl and Cotton Bowl) can be streamed live at WatchESPN.
|Bowl||Team 1||Team 2||Stadium: Location||Date: Time||TV|
|New Mexico||Nevada||Arizona||University Stadium: Albuquerque, NM||12/15: 1:00||ESPN|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Toledo||Utah State||Bronco Stadium: Boise, ID||12/15: 4:30||ESPN|
|Poinsettia||BYU||San Diego State||Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA||12/20: 8:00||ESPN|
|Beef 'O' Brady's||Ball State ||UCF||Tropicana Field: St. Petersburg, FL||12/21: 7:30||ESPN|
|New Orleans||East Carolina||Louisiana-Lafayette||Superdome: New Orleans, LA||12/22: Noon||ESPN|
|Las Vegas||Boise State||Washington||Sam Boyd Stadium: Las Vegas, NV||12/22: 3:30||ESPN|
|Hawaii||SMU||Fresno State||Aloha Stadium: Honolulu, HI||12/24: 8:00||ESPN|
|Little Caesars||Central Michigan ||Western Kentucky ||Ford Field: Detroit, MI||12/26: 7:30||ESPN|
|Military||Bowling Green ||San Jose State||RFK Stadium: Washington, DC||12/27: 3:00||ESPN|
|Belk||Duke||Cincinnati ||Bank of America Stadium: Charlotte, NC||12/27: 6:30||ESPN|
|Holiday||Baylor||UCLA||Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA||12/27: 9:45||ESPN|
|Independence||Louisiana-Monroe||Ohio||Independence Stadium: Shreveport, LA||12/28: 2:00||ESPN|
|Russell Athletic||Virginia Tech||Rutgers ||Florida Citrus Bowl: Orlando, FL||12/28: 5:30||ESPN|
|Meineke Car Care||Minnesota ||Texas Tech ||Reliant Stadium: Houston, TX||12/28: 9:00||ESPN|
|Armed Forces||Rice||Air Force||Amon G. Carter Stadium: Fort Worth, TX||12/29: 11:45 a.m.||ESPN|
|Pinstripe||Syracuse ||West Virginia ||Yankee Stadium: Bronx, NY||12/29: 3:15||ESPN|
|Kraft||Navy||Arizona State||AT&T Park: San Francisco, CA||12/29: 4:00||ESPN2|
|Alamo||Texas ||Oregon State||Alamodome: San Antonio, TX||12/29: 6:45||ESPN|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||TCU ||Michigan State ||Sun Devil Stadium: Tempe, AZ||12/29: 10:15||ESPN|
|Music City||N.C. State ||Vanderbilt||LP Field: Nashville, TN||12/31: Noon||ESPN|
|Sun||Georgia Tech||USC||Sun Bowl: El Paso, TX||12/31: 2:00||CBS|
|Liberty||Tulsa||Iowa State||Liberty Bowl: Memphis, TN||12/31: 3:30||ESPN|
|Chick-fil-A||Clemson||LSU||Georgia Dome: Atlanta, GA||12/31: 7:30||ESPN|
|Gator||Northwestern ||Mississippi State||Everbank Field: Jacksonville, FL||1/1: Noon||ESPN2|
|Heart of Dallas||Purdue ||Oklahoma State ||Cotton Bowl: Dallas, TX||1/1: Noon||ESPNU|
|Outback||Michigan ||South Carolina||Raymond James Stadium: Tampa, FL||1/1: 1:00||ESPN|
|Nebraska ||Georgia||Florida Citrus Bowl: Orlando, FL||1/1: 1:00||ABC|
|Rose||Stanford||Wisconsin||Rose Bowl: Pasadena, CA||1/1: 5:00||ESPN|
|Orange||Northern Illinois ||Florida State||Sun Life Stadium: Miami, FL||1/1: 8:30||ESPN|
|Sugar||Florida||Louisville||Superdome: New Orleans, LA||1/2: 8:30||ESPN|
|Fiesta||Oregon||Kansas State||U. of Phoenix Stadium: Glendale, AZ||1/3: 8:30||ESPN|
|Cotton||Oklahoma ||Texas A&M||Cowboys Stadium: Arlington, TX||1/4: 8:00||FOX|
|Compass||Pittsburgh ||Ole Miss||Legion Field: Birmingham, AL||1/5: 1:00||ESPN|
|GoDaddy.com||Kent State ||Arkansas State||Ladd-Peebles Stadium: Mobile, AL||1/6: 9:00||ESPN|
|National Championship||Notre Dame ||Alabama ||Sun Life Stadium: Miami, FL||1/7: 8:30||ESPN|
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